In ministry, one can define stewardship as "maximizing the impact of every dollar." As the pastor of a small rural church, I have experienced this reality firsthand. Yet, even with financial difficulties, I cannot forget that the above definition still includes the word "impact." Our spending, regardless the amount, must make a difference.
One area often caught between stewardship and impact is technology. In my church, I have found that a little bit of technology goes a long way. Yet, the cost presents a formidable challenge to our budget. Unwilling to forgo the impact, I have tried to find creative ways to add technology without adding the typical high costs. Though not profound, the result of my efforts is five effective ideas for becoming high tech on a low budget.
1. Take Inventory
As I began taking inventory, I wanted to explore areas for technological improvement. With the need to be cost-conscious, I thoroughly reviewed our current stock. Taking inventory revealed several instances where we didn't use things we already owned. Two examples come to mind.
First, our children's ministry needed a system for notifying parents during the service. Years ago, we bought a set of pagers, but they gradually deteriorated. After considering comparable systems, I found that everything was priced well beyond our means. But after reviewing the features of our projection software,I discovered a text messaging toolbar. We could easily display a child's assigned number on the worship screen, giving us a no-cost solution.
Secondly, as most churches do, we often use performance tracks during the service. Cueing the track with a CD player worked, but sometimes errors occurred. Sunday morning tech volunteers occasionally struggled switching their focus from the projection software to the CD player. But during my exploration of the projection software, I learned it could import and use audio files. All we had to do was burn the performance tracks from the CD and move them into the software. Now, a single mouse click begins the track, meaning we no longer need to transition from the computer to the CD player and back to the computer. Once more, taking inventory led to a no-cost technological improvement.
2. Select Inexpensive Upgrades
Following my inventory, I began to consider various technology upgrades supported by our presentation software. Two inexpensive upgrades have significantly improved our Sunday morning presentation.